The New England Library Association (NELA) is pleased to announce that it is awarding the 2013 Emerson Greenaway Distinguished Service Award for Librarianship or “The Great Librarian Award” to Robert C. Maier of Salem, MA. After many years of service to libraries, librarians and the people they serve, Mr. Maier retired this year from his position as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the state agency that oversees library service in the Commonwealth. The Greenaway Award is given to Mr. Maier because of his dedicated and effective service to libraries during his career; he has been a staunch advocate for improved library service and funding as well as for innovation and new programs and technology in libraries. He was one of the founding members of the Minuteman Library network as Director of the Bedford, MA. Public Library in the 1980's, and in his first years at the MBLC he oversaw the development of a major and sustained effort by the Commonwealth to build and renovate over 200 public libraries over the last 20 years. Mr. Maier’s influence reaches far beyond the borders of Massachusetts. He has also been a strong supporter of library programs for the blind and physically handicapped in Massachusetts and beyond. His support for the New England Library Leadership Symposium has been critical in the success of this program that trains and develops new library leaders. His leadership during good and bad fiscal times was remarkable for its steadiness and optimism. On the national level, he assumed a leadership role in legislative affairs for the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA.) He continues his involvement with libraries by volunteering on the Digital Content Working Group, a committee of the American Library Association that is working on making ebooks available through libraries.
Mr. Maier was nominated for this honor by the Massachusetts Library Association.
The “Great Librarian Award” was established by NELA in 1988 and its first recipient was former Worcester Public Library Director Emerson Greenaway. After his death the Award was renamed in his memory. It is given annually by NELA whenever there is a worthy candidate. The Award will be presented at the NELA Annual Banquet, on Sunday evening October 20th. The Banquet is a featured event at the Association's Annual Conference which is being held October 20-22, 2013 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland Maine.